Based on the unceded ancestral territories of the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish), and səlil̓ilw̓ətaʔɬ (Tsleil-Waututh) Nations, Dumb Instrument Dance (dID( is a Not For Profit Society that provides an environment for the research, creation and performance of contemporary dance and by extension, contemporary art. Through the Artistic Direction of Ziyian Kwan, dID aspires to programming that celebrates the vast richness of human experience. We are inspired to artfully challenge the status quo, to expand conventions of dissemination, and to offer unique platforms for community engagement. With a strong focus on collaboration, we engage with artists from across the forms of dance, theatre, written word, visual art and music.


Artistic Director, Ziyian Kwan

Ziyian Kwan (she/her) is a Chinese/Filipina Canadian who has worked as a dance artist since 1989, on the unceded ancestral territories of the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish), and səlil̓ilw̓ətaʔɬ (Tsleil-Waututh) Nations.

In the last 10 years, her creations and installations the neck to fall, Bite Down Gently and Howl, The A Slow Awkward, Mars Hotel, Still Rhyming, Kwan Yin, Public and Private, The Odd Volume, Made In Voyage, Spells For Chinatown, Dreaming of Koi and Rebel Grace  have been performed in Canada and in Europe, self-presented and through generous partnerships with presenters including Dance in Vancouver, Tangente, Studio 303, Dancing On The Edge Festival, The Firehall Arts Centre, CanAsian Dance, Dance Victoria, Crimson Coast Dance, Tanzmesse, Vancouver International Dance Festival, Canada Dance Festival,  and The National Arts Centre.

Ziyian’s artistry as a performer has been deeply influenced by working with an eclectic array of choreographers with whom she has performed on stages in Austria, Belgium, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Poland, Scotland and the U.S. In 2014, she received The Dance Centre’s Isadora for excellence in performance. Commissioning other artists has also been integral to Ziyian’s creativity. Since 1991, she has independantly and with colleagues, commissioned works by Susan Elliott, Peter Bingham, Barbara Bourget, Benoit LaChambre, John Ottmann, Robin Poitras, David Pressault, Angelique Wilkie, Josh Martin and Tedd Robinson.

Ziyian takes great pleasure in participating in projects that cross genres. She has been featured in films directed by Bruce La Bruce, Kevin Cottam and Soaring Heart Pictures. In 2006 she danced the central female role in a ‘Sommeil et Rouge’, a dance/theatre production directed by Quebecois playwright and poet, Daniel Danis. Other memorable collaborations include her creation truthache: study # 1 with Visual Artist David Khang and commissions to create works by The Richmond Art Gallery, in conjunction with visual Artist Lys Lemieux’s exhibit ” a Girl’s Got To”. Ziyian has twice enjoyed collaborating as a performer in the work of Tanya Lukin-Linklater at The Western Front and Belkin Galleries.

photo 1: David Cooper of Rianne Svelnis & Ziyian Kwan from Dreaming of Koi | photo 2: Chris Randle of Ziyian Kwan